Offense Rules Early, Defense Late In Spring Game

Evan Johnson stretches for the goal line to score the first touchdown of the 2018 spring game.
Evan Johnson stretches for the goal line to score the first touchdown of the 2018 spring game.
March 24, 2018

DENTON - It was a mix of veterans and newcomers who earned notice in Saturday's 2018 spring football game presented by Verus, an affair that saw the offense control early but the defense dominate the second half of the 100-play scrimmage.

Junior quarterback Mason Fine completed 17 of 27 attempts for 253 yards and two touchdowns to lead an attack that rolled up 622 yards total offense. Wide receiver Jalen Guyton had eight catches for 135 yards and a touchdown, and running back DeAndre Torrey rushed 12 times for 81 yards and a score.

On defense, leading the way were sophomore defensive lineman Dion Novil with seven tackles, one sack and a pass batted down; redshirt junior linebacker William LeMasters with six tackles and two passes broken up; redshirt senior defensive lineman Ulaiasi Tauaalo with eight tackles, one for loss; and sophomore defensive back Tyreke Evans with five tackles, one pass broken up and some nice open-field tackles.

"I'm really positive about the spring," Guyton said. "This is my second since I've been here. Comparing the two, we are light years ahead of where we were last year. That's not to say there's not still a lot of work to be done, but I think we're headed in the right direction."

The offense scored on three of the scrimmage's first four possessions, and, as they did a year ago, the Mean Green were fueled by big plays.

After an opening drive capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Fine to Evan Johnson, the offense struck for a 49-yard TD on a pass from Quinn Shanbour to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Keegan Brewer and followed with a 55-yard TD run from sophomore running back Torrey, a junior-college transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast CC.

The offensive line was impressive, allowing just one sack and opening carving holes in the defense in the first half of the scrimmage.

But after allowing those three early scores, the defense regrouped and held the offense scoreless on eight consecutive drives. The Mean Green defense registered 10 tackles for loss and eight passes broken up on the day.

The offense got back on track late with a perfectly executed play-action by Fine, who faked a hand off before throwing deep to a wide-open Guyton for a 70-yard touchdown.

The kicking game, undergoing a transition after the graduation of record-setting place kicker Trevor Moore, saw transfer Cole Hedlund make one of two field goal attempts and convert two extra point attempts.

Quick Hits

  • Redshirt freshman quarterback Cade Pearson completed 7 of 10 passes for 73 yards.
  • Getting plenty of work behind Torrey at running back were redshirt junior Loren Easly with 12 carries for 38 yards and redshirt junior Christian Hosley with 15 rushes for 45 yards.
  • Redshirt freshman wide receiver Greg White had six receptions for 54 yards.
  • On the defensive line, sophomore Novil, redshirt senior Tauaalo and senior Roderick Young had strong performances. Young had three tackles including two for loss.
  • Senior defensive back Nate Brooks spent much of the day in battle with Guyton and finished with seven tackles on one pass broken up.
  • Junior linebacker Jamie King had five tackles, two for loss, and one pass broken up.
  • Redshirt senior linebacker E.J. Ejiya had four tackles, one for loss.
  • There were no turnovers but there was one fumble caused, jarred loose by sophomore defensive back Makyle Sanders.
  • North Texas attempted three field goals Saturday. Hedlund missed from 36 yards but was good from 42. Alvin Kenworthy missed from 42 yards.



North Texas Mean Green